Seymour woman recounts struggle, grace after suffering traumatic brain injuries in accidents


After being thrown from her horse in 2001 and sustaining massive head and traumatic brain injuries, a Seymour woman spent 23 days in a coma in a hospital.

She then endured countless more days learning how to do the things most of us take for granted.

After her recovery, Lynde Doup thought she had learned all there was to know about pain.

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She would find out differently on Halloween in 2013 when the Kia she was driving was involved in a collision with a semitrailer on U.S. 50 near Hayden.

The impact left the 34-year-old hospitalized for 16 days and again relearning everything.

And the pain was much worse the second time around.

Doup, however, has been able to overcome both incidents and build a normal life with her husband, Brian, and her 13-year-old daughter, Lexi. This past year, she even managed to write a 134-page book, “The Odds of Grace,” about her life.

“The only thing I can’t do now is run,” she said. “That’s not really a big deal.”

Doup plans to sign copies of her book, written with the help of longtime friend and ghostwriter T. Jane Palmer, from 5 to 7 p.m. March 27 at Victory Missionary Baptist Church, 312 Myers St., Seymour. She and Palmer attended school together.

Although Doup said God may have not talked to her, she just felt like he was urging her to share her story of perseverance.

The book contains photographs and the personal reflections of her husband, her mother, Kathy Bowling, her sister, Lyda Ritz, and other friends and relatives.

Doup said the book is not about “tooting her own horn” but how her faith in God played a role in her recoveries.

“God is good … absolutely,” she said.

Her first brush with death occurred April 14, 2001, when the horse she was riding stumbled and threw her to the ground.

At the time, she was 17 and a junior at Jennings County High School. Her family was told she likely would be on life support for the rest of her life because of her massive head and brain injuries.

Her second traumatic brain injury occurred Oct. 31, 2013, as she was driving near Hayden and her vehicle hydroplaned and slid sideways into the passenger side of the cab of a semitrailer.

“We hit passenger side to passenger side,” she said.

Doup said she should have been driving her school bus that day, but her husband took her route so she could run some other errands.

“He was working in construction, and it was raining, so he wasn’t working,” she said.

After finishing the school bus route, Brian came upon a traffic backup on U.S. 50 and got out to help. That’s when he noticed his hard hat lying on the ground.

“I had driven his work car,” Lynde said. “I don’t know why.”

Lynde said Jennings County Officer Jerry Shepherd, who is now a major, knew the family and told Brian his wife was breathing but unresponsive, Lynde said.

She would spend 16 days at Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis before being transferred to Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana, the same place she went after the earlier accident, for intensive therapy. Her commitment to recovery later led to her being the hospital’s Patient of the Year.

Her husband was told the second traumatic brain injury likely would mean his wife would never live a normal life again.

Lynde, however, again proved prediction wrong.

“The brain is amazing how it can rewire,” she said. “It’s crazy. When you can’t do things one way, your brain figures things out and rewires.”

Lynde said recovering from the incident with the horse was very hard, but it was nothing compared to the wreck.

“It was like a cakewalk,” she said of the first incident.

The wreck left her with little feeling in her legs because of a hip injury for quite some time, and the brain injury also played a role.

“It took about a year and a half to regain the feeling in my legs,” she said.

And as the numbness wore off, the pain really set in, she said.

She also later wound up having surgery to repair a herniated disc in her back because she overdid some things while working with her horses, she said.

“I did some things I probably shouldn’t have, but I don’t like asking people for help,” Lynde said.

To make matters worse, Brian survived a bout of tongue cancer in which he lost a part of his tongue in 2009, said Lynde, who continues to drive a school bus for Hayden Elementary School.

Her faith, family and friends helped her get through it all.

“I’m just very thankful for everything,” she said.

Lynde said she doesn’t take anything for grant and just praises God.

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What: Book signing by Lynde Doup of Seymour, author of “The Odds of Grace”

When: 5 to 7 p.m. March 27

Where: Victory Missionary Baptist Church, 312 Myers St., Seymour

Cost: $19.50 for the paperback and $40.79 for the hardcover

Benefits: A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana


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